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dlsherry

Accident with company truck

6 posts in this topic

My husband is a box truck driver for a local company. The accident happened three weeks ago at the start of his run. A teenage girl turned left in front of him to enter a gas station along a country road. He was going the speed limit (50-55) and barely had time to swerve as to not hit her vehicle in the passenger area but did take off her front end. He didn't want to get out of his truck after the collision because he was sure the car was under the truck. The impact caused him two broken ribs and a minor concussion. The girl admitted fault and her insurance company is being cooperative. His company has him on Worker's Comp and light duty. He has lost substantial overtime since he cannot drive and unload a truck as well as doctor visits and general pain. His company is getting a sizable amount for the truck, a rental truck, and probably for the "loss" of his time. What should he be entitled to and would it be in his best interest to contact an attorney to protect his financial rights?

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The company isn't likely getting anything for loss of his time.  If your husband has damages from the accident that aren't being covered by workers' compensation then he should speak to a personal injury attorney. 

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46 minutes ago, dlsherry said:

What should he be entitled to

 

A lot more than just WC depending on whether your own insurance opted for "full tort" or "limited tort." You can google Pennsylvania no-fault auto insurance for an explanation of those terms and then read your own policy.

 

46 minutes ago, dlsherry said:

would it be in his best interest to contact an attorney to protect his financial rights?

 

Yes it would.

 

Just understand that whatever settlement he gets from the other driver's insurance - 1/3 will go to the lawyer and part of the rest will go to reimburse WC for its costs. Whatever is left goes to your husband and could still be substantial depending on the extent of his injuries.

 

With regard to lost earnings, on a personal injury claim, he could be entitled to the full amount of his earnings including lost overtime if he can show consistent past overtime earnings. Again, what WC pays toward lost earnings gets reimbursed.

 

An attorney can explain all that a lot better than this small space would allow.

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57 minutes ago, dlsherry said:

His company is getting a sizable amount . . . probably for the "loss" of his time.

 

This is, without question, incorrect.

 

 

58 minutes ago, dlsherry said:

What should he be entitled to and would it be in his best interest to contact an attorney to protect his financial rights?

 

He's entitled to compensation for past and future medical expenses, past and future lost earnings, and "pain and suffering."  Presumably, his medical bills are being covered by his employer's workers' comp carrier (and/or his personal medical insurer), so the carrier would be entitled to reimbursement for that, but your husband would be entitled to reimbursement for anything he's paid out of pocket.  Of course, the other driver's insurer only has a duty (to its insured) to pay up to the limits of the other driver's policy.  Does your husband know at this time what the limits are of the other driver's policy and whether those limits will be sufficient to cover his medical expenses and lost earnings.  The other driver's liability is not limited by her insurance coverage, but a "teenage girl" is not likely to have assets or income to pay much of anything beyond her insurance coverage.

 

As far as hiring a lawyer, if the other driver's policy limits are less than or close to your husbands medical expenses plus lost wages, then there's relatively little or nothing an attorney will be able to do for him.  Stated differently, let's say the other driver carried state minimum limits of $15k per person and your husband's medical bills plus lost earnings exceed $15k.  It's likely that the other driver's insurer will offer the policy limits, and if we assume the other driver has no ability to pay in excess of insurance coverage, then there's nothing an attorney can do for him.  No harm in consulting with an attorney, but if he does choose to hire one, he should try and work out an agreement where the attorneys' contingent fee does not include a percentage of policy limits if it's obvious that his damages will exceed the policy limits.

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I would suggest your husband check with his employer to see if his company has uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.  I had a case where the original attorney declined the case without checking because the other driver had minimal coverage.  I discovered the employee's company had extensive underinsured coverage which compensated the client (and me) adequately.  Your husband's own insurance policy may also come into play depending on his policy limits.  Don't give up too easily.

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